Flemish Masters in Prussia – The Orange Heritage in Changing Times and Tastes
The Dutch stadholder Frederik Hendrik and his wife Amalia van Solms built up the largest and most valuable art collection in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. Their acquisitions were driven partly by personal preference and partly by a strong desire to boost their political power. Seventeenth-century Flemish paintings were among their favorite purchases since they enjoyed such great prestige. In the eighteenth century, much of the collection was transferred to the Brandenburg Prussian palaces as part of the so-called Oranian inheritance. Around 1830, a selection of paintings was made to furnish and complete the new Gemäldegalerie to be built in Berlin. Interestingly, the Berlin collection as it exists today reflects the high quality of the stadholder’s collection as far as Dutch paintings are concerned, but not in the area of Flemish paintings, which were once held in such high esteem. This contrast is partially due to changes in taste and art appreciation in the nineteenth century, but the events of the Second World War also played a decisive role.
Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Dr. Katja Kleinert is Curator of Dutch and Flemish Art of the Seventeenth Century at the Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. She studied art history and Dutch philology in Berlin, Brussels and Amsterdam. Her doctoral dissertation examined in depth the representations of painters’ studios. In 2005–2007, as a research assistant at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, she co-curated the exhibition Rembrandt: Quest of a Genius. She then accepted a position at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, where she gained expertise in neutron autoradiography. In 2011–2016 she worked on an interdisciplinary research project on the Rembrandt collection at the Berlin Gemäldegalerie, the results of which can be accessed in the Rembrandt Database. In September 2016 she started at the Gemäldegalerie working on projects such as Frans Hals/not Frans Hals; Gerard ter Borch: Gallant Conversation; and, most recently, Vision of Sea Power: A Seascape for the Great Elector.